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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Remarks at the welcome of Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, SAHRC Chief Executive Officer

By Chairperson Bongani Majola

5 June 2017

Good afternoon Commissioners, Good afternoon colleagues. We have come together to welcome among us the new (but not so new) Chief Executive Officer of the Commission Mr Tseliso Thipanyane. I think many of you know Tseliso very well as he is an old hand at the Commission. Tseliso can be correctly described as part of the history of this Commission and we appreciate the fact that he has remained interested in the work that we do and has the wellbeing of this institution at heart.
Ideally we should have had this welcome gathering on 1 June when Tseliso started work, however, it was not possible due to prior engagements so we settled on today as the day when we would welcome back Tseliso to the Commission as our CEO.

The process of identifying a CEO has been one of the most important tasks which us as new Commissioners embarked upon as soon as we took office in January this year.

Fortunately the process was made a little easier because by the time we took office as new Commissioners an advert calling for applications had been placed last year and applications had been received. Our task was to interview and appoint the suitable candidate. The interview process was, however, rigorous for all the shortlisted candidates.

•    Tseliso has had a long career that has focussed mainly on the promotion and protection of human rights. Among others he was:

-    A research fellow at the University of KwaZulu Natal;

-    He taught law at the University of the Western Cape;

-    From 1996 to 2004 he headed the Research and Documentation Unit of the Commission;

-    He also had a stint at our sister institution that is often referred to as “the Commission with a long name” that is the Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities;

-    Between 2006 and 2009 Tseliso was the CEO of our Commission;

-    He has been a visiting lecturer at a number of universities and has also worked as an independent consultant;

-    His most recent position before re-joining the Commission has been as the CEO of an organisation called Safer South Africa Foundation.

•    We are pleased that Tseliso has found his way back home. He is like the proverbial prodigal son (of course in our case he did not go and squander our wealth but rather went around gaining a wealth of experience and knowledge which he brings back home and will now share with us).

•    Without a doubt Tseliso has come back to an institution which is markedly different from the one he left in 2009, however, the mandate of the Commission as per the Constitution remains the same.

•    I think I speak for everyone when I say we want the Commission to succeed in all that it does. The Commission should not only succeed but should be a beacon in South Africa, Africa and the world. To achieve the goal of being a leading human rights institution, the aim of all of us should be to ensure that the Commission is

-    Innovative and efficient;

-    At the forefront of addressing the human rights concerns faced by millions in South Africa;

-    In touch with the changing needs of South African society; and

-    Respected and is a front runner in supporting and strengthening democracy through promotion and protection of human rights.

•    Tseliso has been identified as the person to help us realise these goals.

•    Tseliso cannot succeed without your support and I trust that we will all give him the support that he needs.


•    Once again I welcome Tseliso to the Commission and on behalf of all Commissioners and staff I wish him success in his work of taking the Commission to new heights.

THANK YOU.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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